Can Your Exercise Routine Affect Your Fertility?

According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women should spend at least 150 minutes engaging in low-impact aerobic activity every week. Regular workouts during pregnancy can benefit the mother-to-be and her fetus in a number of ways, including reducing back pain, relieving constipation, promoting weight gain, building stamina, and shortening labor duration. Not only is a regular exercise routine recommended for those with a bun in the oven, but it's also advised for those who are trying to conceive. Pregnancy entails planning, and because it's an eventful process during which your body experiences tons of changes, you need to prepare your body for it. Aside from a tailored diet, being in a healthy weight range by staying active can also enhance your chances of getting pregnant, Tommy's points out.

Having said that, no exercises are created equal and not all are beneficial for your fertility. Even when you're not pregnant, engaging in workouts that are not in line with your fitness level might exercise undue stress on your joints or cause injuries. Sometimes, what was intended to be a harmless body conditioning regimen might end up affecting your fertility and reproductive health. Here are some caveats to watch out for in terms of physical activity if you're trying to get pregnant. 

Strenuous exercises can lower your fertility

Turns out, engaging in a large amount of strenuous exercise might dent fertility and the chances of having a baby with assisted reproductive technology (ART), per The Fertility Society of Australia. Therefore, it's recommended that you steer clear of high-intensity exercises while trying to conceive. In particular, NOVA IVF Fertility points out that engaging in aerobic exercises for seven or more hours a week might increase the risks of ovulatory disorders, while high-intensity exercises in excess of four hours per week lower the success rates of IVF. In general, moderate exercise for less than five hours per week increases fertility in women.

Some examples of full-on, physically taxing activities that are more likely to affect your fertility include circuit training, CrossFit, kickboxing, powerlifting, and running. High-intensity exercises can disrupt the hormones responsible for your menstrual cycle, causing irregular periods and making it more challenging for the body to produce eggs and conceive. Therefore, professional athletes involved in competitive sports have a reduced chance of getting pregnant as intensive training over a long period of time can cause menstrual disorders, which are likely to result in infertility. Therefore, as you're trying to get pregnant, take care to keep track of your ovulation to make sure your body's biological clock is working like clockwork.

Moderate exercises that boost your fertility

To improve your fertility, a general rule of thumb is to replace some of the more high-intensity workouts with more gentle, easy-on-the-body forms of exercise. According to LA IVF, moderate forms of exercises recommended to keep you in the healthy weight range and enhance your reproductive health include walking, dancing, bicycling, swimming, and Pilates. You should also check out fertility yoga, a series of yoga poses tailored for a fertility boost that is often recommended for those undergoing IVF or suffering infertility issues. Promoting relaxation and encouraging blood flow to the hips, fertility yoga is designed to lower stress and improve your chances of conception.

For individuals who used to run routinely, you may want to switch from your previous long-distance running to one that is half as long and intense to ensure that it doesn't interfere with your ovulation. According to March of Dimes, if you have heart disease, diabetes, obesity, or a disability or have had a stroke or eye surgery, consult a fertility specialist before beginning any physical activity. If you are at risk of getting said conditions or you think your family has a genetic history of birth defects, come clean with your healthcare provider to receive an accurate interpretation of your symptoms and quality care. A fertility expert is the most qualified person to help you develop a balanced fitness regimen based on your health conditions and recommend you treatments that will increase your chances of having a baby.